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A black and white photograph of a loungeroom. In the right corner a young girl is facing away from the camera.

Hayley Millar Baker

Creation date: 2021 Location: Gallery 12
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Hayley Millar Baker, Gunditjmara and Djabwurrung peoples, Nyctinasty, 2021, commissioned by the National Gallery of Australia, Kamberri/Canberra for the 4th National Indigenous Art Triennial: Ceremony with the support of Kerry Gardner AM and Andrew Myer AM, and the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts funding and advisory body. Courtesy the artist and Vivien Anderson Gallery.

Artist Hayley Millar Baker on Nyctinasty

I make art because that is all I've ever wanted to do, it's all I ever considered myself doing. That's just who I am and that's just who I'm meant to be, there was no other option.

I see myself as a storyteller. My old people are storytellers, they're magic people. I'm really abstracting that, but in a contemporary time.

I've got so many ideas on identity and memory and experiences, and how that shapes a person. What people take away from it is dependent on who they are and their identity and their experiences.

Horror film is what I looked at for the ingredients to make Nyctinasty, taking those ingredients and then changing them so much that they become almost delicate. For anybody who doesn’t have that connection to a spiritual side, the film will seem horror-esque, but to anybody who does have that experience, it’s going to be a connection to the way they experience it. There’s many things in this film that are made to mesmerise, to make you feel like you’re meditating, where you are feeling as well as watching — the hands and the crushing of charcoal, the spitting of the fire, the pot boiling with the egg bouncing around, the vacant wall, where you know there’s nothing there but there’s something there.

— Hayley Millar Baker, 2021